ARLINGTON, Texas — Catch a breath, Nolan Ryan.
You have been everywhere during the 2010 World Series. You have posed for more pictures than Cindy Crawford. You have done more interviews than Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos did before hiring John Farrell as manager. You have done everything except draw a map of the strike zone for Derek Holland, and it has been a beautiful thing to witness.
But for the sheer fun of it, let's stop to consider how life would have been different if Fox Sports Southwest had not advanced you and Chuck Greenberg the money to beat Mark Cuban in the bankruptcy auction to buy the Rangers. How would the World Series be different if the Internet billionaire/Dallas Mavericks owner/HDNet founder had gotten control?
•Extremely plush towels in the clubhouses.
•Owner in the infield sticking a finger in John Hirschbeck's face after Ian Kinsler's apparent home run bounced back onto the field in Game 2.
•Good seats for Rolando Blackman.
•Rangers answering Tony Bennett's Game 1 serenade with an appearance from Ray Wylie Hubbard, singing his "Screw You (We're from Texas)."
•Constant phone calls from Bud Selig to David Stern, and vice versa.
•Kids barred from Wiffle ball field beyond left field seats at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington so Cuban and his frat brothers can play to see who buys the keg in owner's suite.
•Josh Hamilton's strike zone expands daily after Cuban posts pitch-by-pitch graphics of missed calls on his blog.
•Frequent comments by Cuban about how media guys are always the "dumbest people in the room,'' and no explanation about which reporter let Steve Nash leave the Mavs and which reporter signed Erick Dampier to a fat contract.
•On-deck circle declared American Airlines Pre-Hitting Lounge, staffed by a masseuse and visualization expert.
•Holland ordered to work extra hard on throwing strikes during morning "throwarounds.''
•Rangers watching clips of how Miami Heat steamrolled Cuban's Mavericks after falling into 0-2 hole in 2006 NBA Finals. "See, boys,'' says Cuban. "It can be done!''
Intrigued/intriguing: While never confirmed, there were reports that former Twins GM Terry Ryan was curious enough about the Mets' GM job to spend time in the team's Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex during the Instructional League.
That comes as a shock to most long-term executives, as the perception is that you would need a backhoe or something heavier to pry Ryan away from his suburban Minneapolis neighborhood.
Ryan, more than Tom Kelly the architect of the Twins' long-term success, would be in demand if he really is willing to walk away from a consultant's gig with the Twins. It's hard to see how the Mets could have hired Sandy Alderson instead of him, and you would think Cubs owner Tom Ricketts would get on the telephone with Ryan quickly, especially given the thought that Ryan would leave the Twins only to work for a team in the Midwest.
Could Ryan and Jim Hendry co-exist? That would be up to Hendry. Ryan would be an absolutely terrific hire for a position atop the baseball chain of command, above Hendry. Corporate lawyer Crane Kenney is the guy there now, and there was a leadership vacuum throughout 2010.
Door still open: Latest word out of Florida is the Marlins are leaning toward giving interim manager Edwin Rodriguez a one-year contract for 2011.
This will not quiet speculation about Ozzie Guillen winding up as the Marlins' manager when they move into their new stadium, whispers that were first reported in the Tribune last spring.
When the White Sox ham-handedly announced Guillen was remaining their manager for '11, they did not extend his contract. If Guillen and Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf want to end speculation, they will have to put together a contract extension, as it's hard to see how the Sox win next season at this point, and Guillen could be jettisoned at season's end, if not before, making him available to the Marlins.
Guillen apparently would like an extension, but the club seemingly prefers to keep its options open.
As for a possible Guillen-for-Mike Stanton trade? A water-treading club not producing its own young stars, such as the White Sox, would do that in a second. The Marlins? Only if owner Jeffrey Loria has been concussed, and we haven't heard of him serving as a tackling dummy for the Dolphins.
The last word: "It's strange to say, but it's almost like the weirder team you have, the more you win. I've only been on two winning teams — the Giants and in college — and both of them had a bunch of jackasses.'' — Aubrey Huff.